Approach To The Mohne Dam

Anthony Saunders





Approach to the Mohne Dam Anthony Saunders

With the threat from Hitler’s increasingly belligerent regime growing, minds within Britain’s Air Ministry had already identified potential targets should the unthinkable happen and war with Germany become a reality. The list included the great dams of western Germany, some of the largest in the world.

On 9 September 1939 Hitler’s armies invaded Poland and, as Britain once again found herself at war with Germany, plans to attack the dams became a reality. Three were chosen as primary targets; the Möhne, Eder and Sorpe dams which between them controlled the vast supplies of water to the factories and manufacturing industries of the Ruhr. If these dams could be destroyed, the beating heart of industrial Germany would be dealt a heavy blow. But there were problems; the range and dam defences were too great for a low-level attack by existing aircraft and commando raids were thought suicidal, with little chance of success. Barnes Wallis, however, had an idea – a cylindrical ‘bouncing bomb’ codenamed Upkeep – a mine designed to skip across the surface of the water clearing the torpedo nets, and explode against a dam wall at a depth that would cause maximum destruction.

To deliver his weapon, however, would require men of extraordinary flying skills, and an aircraft big enough for the job. By March 1943 all the criteria had been met; Upkeep was ready and tested, a new special squadron numbered 617 had been formed under Wing Commander Guy Gibson, and Avro’s mighty Lancaster bomber was up to the task. On the evening of 16 May 1943, after weeks of intensive training, Gibson led the first wave of bombers away from RAF Scampton and set course for the Moehne dam. The Dambuster raid had begun.

Following three attempts and the tragic loss of one aircraft the dam still held; it is now the turn of Flight Lieutenant David Maltby at the controls of Lancaster AJ-J to press home his attack. With Mick Martin drawing the enemy’s fire to port and Guy Gibson to starboard, Maltby holds his aircraft steady and true as bomb aimer John Fort releases their Upkeep mine.

The time was 00.49hrs on the morning of 17 May 1943 and the mine bounced to perfection, hit the target, sank, and detonated against the already damaged stone wall. Immeasurable pressure forced water through the groaning, already cracking blocks of granite until the dam could stand no more. The wall shuddered and then surrendered. ‘There was a breach 100yds across,’ Gibson wrote later, ‘and the water, looking like stirred porridge in the moonlight, was gushing out and rolling into the Ruhr valley....’

The Aviation Art Gallery is honoured that this special release, commemorating the 75th Anniversary, has been personally signed by veterans who helped create the Dambusters legend. This fitting tribute to one of the most famous missions in the history of aerial warfare creates a historic collector’s item for aviation art enthusiasts and history buffs alike. Anthony Saunders’ painting, Approach to the Möhne Dam, already hailed as a masterpiece of aviation art and one of the most authentic interpretations of events yet created, captures the moment when the fate of the Mohne dam was sealed.



To commemorate the 75th Anniversary of Operation Chastise – one of the most audacious air raids of World War two – each print is personally signed by two veterans who were directly involved in the raid:

Bomb-aimer on Lancaster AJ-T that attacked the Sorpe Dam, scoring a direct hit.

The daughter of Sir Barnes Wallis who, as a child, helped inspire her father to develop the Bouncing Bomb.


A unique hand-drawn pencil Remarque is one of the best ways to own an original piece of art by Anthony Saunders. Widely acknowledged as one of the most gifted aviation artists of his generation, each of his delicately crafted pencil drawings is skilfully created to order in the lower margins of the print, and will be of a Lancaster relevant to the Dambuster Raid.

Matching numbered certificate of authenticity included.

Overall print size: 36” wide x 22” high (Inches) Printed in lightfast inks on acid free archival paper.

To complement the purchase of your fine art print, we are now able to offer a professional Picture Framing service. For further details please click Here



Signed and Numbered Print
UK £120.00
Edition Size - 200

Artist Prroof Edition Print
UK £195.00
Edition Size - 25

Single Remarque Edition Print
UK £365.00
Edition Size - 15

Double Remarque Edition Print
UK £565.00
Edition Size - 10



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Helpful information regarding our Limited Edition Prints

Limited edition print:

An edition of identical prints, numbered sequentially and individually signed by the artist, having a stated limit to the quantity in the edition. Following publication the printing plates are destroyed. Almost all the aviation art and aircraft prints featured on this website are authenticated with the original signatures of distinguished military personnel.

Artists Proof:

An old tradition of reserving a quantity of prints for the artist's use, usually equal to about 10 % of the edition. In the early days of printing, these prints were the only remuneration the poor artist received. Proofs are signed by the artist and numbered showing the quantity of Artist's Proofs issued in the edition. Because of their highly restricted number, Artist's Proofs are sold at a higher value than the regular prints in the edition.

Publishers Proof:

A quantity of prints, not always announced or issued at the time of publication, usually equal to no more than 10% of the edition. These are reserved for the publisher's use, mostly for donation to Museums, Service establishments, Service Associations, and the like. Quantities of Publishers Proofs, sometimes issued with a supplementary print, may be made available to collectors either at the time of publication, or at a later date, depending upon availability.

Remarqued print:

A print issued with an original pencil drawing by the artist in the margin, each numbered out of the quantity of individually remarqued prints in the edition. The quantity of remarqued prints in any one edition generally is between 25 and 50. Each remarque drawing made by the artist is slightly different, thus making each print totally unique. Remarqued prints may be available at the time of publication, or announced at a later date, depending upon the artist's work load at the time .Please be aware that Remarque prints can take up to six weeks for delivery. An artist remarqued print is the ultimate collector item in terms of reproduced work.

Companion print:

An additional print, usually issued with smaller dimensions, published to compliment a limited edition, and usually issued at the same time.

Matted (or mounted) print:

A print fitted into an acid-free or conservation matt (or mount), ready for framing.

Original drawing:

An original work individually drawn by the artist, completed in pencil, ink, or other medium, and personally signed by the artist. Being an original work each drawing is unique and different.

Certificate of Authenticity:

A certificate issued by the publisher stating the total quantity of prints issued in the edition, confirming authenticity of the signatures, and in the case of a limited edition, inscribed with the matching unique number inscribed on the individual print. Collectors are advised to keep certificates safely as a future means of provenance. All our aviation art and aircraft prints are issued with a certificate of authenticity.



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